Aug 31, 2009
The former president of Service Employees International Union, Local 660, has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges in a scheme that defrauded a non-profit organization formed by another labor leader through the use of bogus consulting contracts.
In a plea agreement filed this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles, Alejandro Stephens, 65, a resident of the Koreatown District of Los Angeles, agreed to plead guilty to two counts of mail fraud and one count of filing a false federal income tax return.
The case against Stephens stems from his participation in a scheme to defraud a non-profit group called the Voter Improvement Program (VIP), which was formed in the late 1990s by M.C., the late executive secretary/treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. According to court documents, M.C. entered into sham consulting agreements with Stephens and four Stephens associates, and VIP paid theconsultants for work they never performed. Stephens associates gave the bulk of the money received from VIP to Stephens, who received more than $50,000 in this manner. Stephens then failed to report the extra income on his federal income tax returns.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and IRS-Criminal Investigativon. The Department of Labor's Office of Labor Management Standards provided assistance.
Stephens is expected to make his initial court appearance on September 15.
Each count of mail fraud carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, and the tax charge carries a statutory maximum sentence of three years in federal prison.